Lost Friendships Break Hearts and Nations

I want to start by talking about a friend. His name is Leo, and it’s hard to imagine a person more different from me. I’m a white Evangelical conservative born and raised in the South. He’s a former Mormon, former Catholic, agnostic Mexican-American Democrat. (He says he belongs to the “church of the Hubble Telescope” because he only believes what he can see.) 

We served together in Iraq. I was the only reservist (and a lawyer at that!) in an active-duty unit, and Leo picked me as his roommate on our Forward Operating Base. He was my first friend in Iraq. I don’t think I’ve spent more time, under more stress, in a single year with any person alive, including my wife. 

We didn’t change each other. He didn’t become like me. I didn’t become like him. We served together during The Surge, and from November 2007 until I deployed back home in September 2008, I heard him talk about Barack Obama almost as much as he talked about his wife (just kidding, Sandra!) 

Hours and hours of debate wouldn’t budge him one inch from his wrongness. When he redeployed back home, I used some law school connections to get him prime seats at Obama’s inauguration. How did Leo reward me for this act of generosity? By sending me a video of George W. Bush’s helicopter leaving the White House while he sang the “Goodbye Song.” 

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